Thunder finds the unnamed Birch and Alder in their den, after witnessing Clear Sky killing their mother, Misty. He calls Clear Sky, and Clear Sky curses when it dawns on him that he's just made two kits motherless. The two take the kits outside with Thunder blocking the kits's view of Misty's body. Clear Sky suggests that killing them is the kindest thing to do, but Thunder and Petal object. Petal offers to look after Birch and Alder.
Clear Sky is shocked at first, as Petal hated Misty, but Petal says that she knows how it feels to be defenseless without a mother to take care of a kit or teach them how to live. Thunder decides to help Petal look after them, and she steps over the kits, murmuring that they'll be in a warm nest soon. She picks up Alder, whilst Thunder picks up Birch. Thunder lifts Birch above the grass as they walk to keep him clear of the grass, and he wonders if Clear Sky would have really killed Birch and his sister if Petal hadn't decided to take care of them.
On the moor, Wind Runner and Gorse Fur report that Clear Sky is expanding his territory. They reveal what happened to Misty, and they searched her nest but couldn't find Birch or Alder, and the pair have reached the conclusion that Clear Sky has killed them. As Bumble is found dying, Clear Sky reveals himself. Wind Runner demands if he killed Birch and Alder, but he replies that they are fine, being cared for by Petal.
Thunder takes a squirrel to Petal and the kits. She thanks him, and Thunder hopes to himself that the kits will grow into healthy cats. Petal reveals that she has named them Birch and Alder. Thunder comments that they are good names. Petal chews up some of the squirrel into a pulp, trying to persuade Birch and Alder to eat some of it.
Birch and Alder are mentioned by Clear Sky when he is accusing Falling Feather of disloyalty. He asks her if she wants them to starve like his younger sister, Fluttering Bird did. When Clear Sky calls for a meeting, Birch and Alder follow Petal, and the latter assures Birch, requesting for Alder to stay with her. She whisks her kits away back to a yew tree, and they stare from where they are. Once it begins, Birch is seen creeping up from the shadows and stares at Clear Sky, while his sister tugs his tail to haul him back to the yew. As Clear Sky denies the accusations that he killed Bumble, he glances toward Birch and Alder. When Clear Sky gets Nettle and Fircone to fight, Birch is straining against Alder's hold on his tail, and asks him if they can watch. He lets them and the two bound forward and skid to a halt next to Petal. Birch and Alder almost get crushed by Nettle when Fircone sends him flying backwards, and run out of the way shrieking when Petal tells them to move.
Birch and his sister are then taken out by Clear Sky for training, Birch galloping toward Clear Sky, which sends leaves flying. When Alder falls into a ditch, she calls for Birch, and e tries to pull Alder out of a ditch when she falls in, pulls her out by her scruff, and asks if she was fine. He asks Clear Sky if they can go slower, but he tells them that slow cats get caught. He and his sister hurtle up to their leader from a fern clump, ears flat against their heads and panting. Birch declares that they made it, and Clear Sky points out that they took their time. Birch comments that their legs weren't as long as his, but their leader says if they kept training, one day they would be as strong as him. Birch says that they might be even stronger, though Clear Sky doubts it. He flicks Birch's spine with his tail tip, and informs him to wait.
Birch frowns when Clear Sky tells them that they'll be playing hide and seek, and thought that they'd be training. Alder asks if they would hide as Birch waited, and Clear Sky informs Birch to look for them when the sun lifts to the next branch. As they find a hiding place, Clear Sky notes that Alder would need space to attack Birch when he arrived. Alder questions his decision, and refuses to attack Birch, as he wasn't warned. Clear Sky argues that he needed to learn, and Alder adds that he wouldn't be ready. As Clear Sky explains about the enemies of the group, he notes that Birch would be on his way, and informs Alder to roll in the mud, so Birch wouldn't scent her the moment he arrived. Clear Sky wonders if Birch would be on his way, and he then informs Alder to stay low so Birch wouldn't see her. Alder complains of the scent of rotting leaves, but Clear Sky points out that if Birch was an actual enemy, rotten leaves might be her best weapon. When they hear a dog barking, Alder exclaims that Birch was there by himself.
Once they arrive at the scene, Clear Sky hisses Birch's name, wondering where he was. Birch is then seen clinging to a trunk above the dog, fur bushed out, and presses himself hard against the tree's bark, prompting Alder to claim that the dog would kill him, pleading for Clear Sky to save him. Then, Petal arrives, and plans to lead the dog away from Birch. Once the dog is gone, Petal calls for her adopted kits, and Birch and Alder huddle in a crook of the lowest branch, pressed together. Clear Sky informs them that it was safe to come down, and Birch stretches his forepaws down the trunk, and clings before he slithers down. He begs to go home, and Petal allows them to, leading the way, with Birch on one side. Clear Sky comments that they had learned a lot that day, and Birch notes that they learned how to climb trees. As they keep going, Petal remarks that the kits were young to battle train, and Birch pulls away, chin up, and remarks that he wasn't. Clear Sky wonders if Gray Wing, Quiet Rain, or Bright Stream would agree with his thoughts, and he then hurries up to catch up with Birch, Alder, and Petal. When Thunder and Jackdaw's Cry find Petal, Thunder recalls watching play tail-chase with Alder and Birch.
After Thunder leaves, Clear Sky thinks that if he knew that Misty was fighting to protect Birch and Alder, he would have gone easier on her. Once Clear Sky returns from meeting Tom, Birch and Alder skip around Clear Sky. When Lightning Tail and Thunder look for Turtle Tail's kits, Clear Sky imagines Birch and Alder waiting in the hollow, running into him, eyes shining. He thinks that they wanted to be with him, unlike Thunder. During the meeting at the four trees, Petal reasons that Jackdaw's Cry was present because they couldn't leave him with Birch and Alder, and Jackdaw's Cry questions her choice.
When a sick bird is discovered by Tall Shadow, Clear Sky soon appears, followed by Petal, Birch, and Alder. Thunder begins to explain what happened to it, but breaks off as the two kits bound forward and peer curiously at the bird. He tells them not to and pushes them away with a gentle paw, telling them to stay back. However, Birch dodges around him and stretches out his neck, touching the dead bird with his nose. His curiosity changes to disgust as he backs away and exclaims in the disgust, claiming that it smells awful. Clear Sky beckons the kits with a jerk of his head, commanding them to get back now, and Thunder notices that there is a look of concern in his father's eyes for the kits who aren’t even his. The kits bound back to Petal, who gathers them close with her tail and licks their ears affectionately. After the leaders talk a little bit more about the Blazing Star, Clear Sky tells Petal to take he kits back to camp, and Petal turns away, leading her kits back into the undergrowth.
Later, when Sparrow Fur is in Clear Sky's camp, Birch patters up with a bundle of dripping moss in his jaws. He gives it to Sparrow Fur and drops it in front of her, telling her that she can now have a good drink, and the young she-cat looks up at him, blinking gratefully, and thanks him. Birch says that she is welcome, and adds to Gray Wing that he and Alder like having another young cat in the camp. Clear Sky urges Sparrow Fur that it is time for her to go back home, but she doesn't move from her nest and glances at Birch, mewing that she would rather stay there for now. Gray Wing begins to protest, and as Sparrow Fur shifts on her haunches, she lets out a small mewl of pain. Birch instantly bends over her, stirring up the moss and fern in her nest to make it more comfortable.
Later, when Clear Sky heads back to his camp after a Gathering, Petal, who had stayed behind to look after the kits, rushes to meet him, and says that it is Alder. Clear Sky rushes over to the nest Petal ha shared with the kits, and expects to see Alder with a bloated belly and sores all over her skin. However, at reaching the nest, he only sees Alder lying comfortably among the moss, with Birch sitting beside her, stroking her tail with one paw. Clear Sky asks Alder how she feels and the young she-cat blinks up at him sleepily, seeming confused as if unsure where she is. Clear Sky meows that she is just tired, and is annoyed with Petal for scaring him like that, but the yellow tabby exclaims that she is not just tired, and waves a paw in front of Alder's face, to which the kit doesn’t respond to. Petal points out that Alder is not focusing on her, and states that something is wrong. One Eye says that he had told Clear Sky, and Petal shifts suddenly to stand in front of the kits, warning them to stay in their nest.
When Clear Sky returns to his camp to reclaim his leadership after One Eye's death, in the clearing he sees Petal, Birch, and Alder lying in a makeshift nest at the foot of an elder bush. All three of them show signs of sickness from their bloated bellies, sores on their skin, and foam around their jaws. Petal moans as she makes a pitiful effort to lick and comfort the kits, and when Clear Sky is confused on what they are doing there, Acorn Fur explains that One Eye made them come, and wouldn't let them help. She goes on that he said they should leave the sick cats there to die, because they weren't doing them any good. The brown she-cat adds that she only got there that day, and brought them water and food, but is afraid that it is too late. Cloud Spots says that it might not be and rushes over to the sick cats, explaining that Tall Shadow and Gray Wing went to fetch the Blazing Star. However, Petal passes away, and Acorn Fur meows that when they brought Petal food, she only took one bite, and gave the rest to the kits. Clear Sky notes that they weren’t even hers, but she was dedicated to them right to the end.
After covering the dead she-cat's body with leaves to prevent the sickness from spreading, Acorn Fur and Shattered Ice gently lift Petal's body out of the nest, trying not to disturb the kits. Meanwhile, Cloud Spots chews up some of the tansy and begins trickling the juices into the kits' mouths. The young cats are barely conscious, but their tongues eagerly lap at the moisture as if they are tormented by thirst. Clear Sky nuzzles the kits affectionately, not caring about the risk of infection, and greets them as his little ones, promising that they will soon feel better. Birch blinks up at him and asks where Petal is, and Clear Sky lies that she went back to camp, thinking that they are too weak to bear the truth now. He decides that he will tell them when they are stronger, and Birch sighs, snuggling down into the nest again and pressing himself close to his sister.
Clear Sky asks if they should move the kits back to camp, but Cloud Spots disagrees that they still aren't doing well, and need the Blazing Star. He also points out that it is best to keep the kits away from the cats who are still healthy, and Clear Sky agrees, leaving Cloud Spots with the kits, and limping across the clearing to where Shattered Ice and Acorn Fur are digging the grave. When they are finished with burying her, Cloud Spots offers to stay with the kits until the Blazing Star comes, as he will need to make sure it will help them. When Tall Shadow arrives in camp with the Blazing Star, Clear Sky tells her that the kits are very ill and are with Cloud Spots. All Shadows asks where they are, stating that she must see them, and Clear Sky offers to show her, and limps off in the direction of the small clearing where Birch and Alder are lying. When Tall Shadow asks him to hurry, Clear Sky points with his tail towards the direction that the kits are in.
Birch is first seen peeking out of the low, spreading yew with his sister, Alder, and it is noted that Petal had made their nest after she'd adopted them. Clear Sky remembers how the kit's mother, as well as Petal had died, and that Birch and Alder had nearly been taken by the sickness too, had the Blazing Star not saved them. Alder and Birch hurry out to meet Quick Water and Birch asks if the mouse is for them, his eyes hopeful. Clear Sky notes that the littermates are almost full-grown and always eager to hunt, and Clear Sky is proud of the cats they had become, and is pleased that he had let Petal take them in. Quick Water tells them not to be silly and lets them share the mouse, and the young cats blink at her gratefully. After Clear Sky talks with Pink Eyes, Birch pads to his sister's side after she is scolded for playing with Pink Eyes's tail, and Birch wishes that prey was as easy to catch as Pink Eyes' tail. The old tom marches away to a sheltered spot beneath an oak, and stares at the two siblings. At that point, a patrol comes into camp with very little prey, and Clear Sky feels worried, and he notices that Alder and Birch are staring hungrily at Acorn Fur's starling.
Later, Birch and Alder are seen batting the tip of Acorn Fur's tail while she lies down, and every now and then the she-cat would whisk it up in the air for one of the young cats to jump for it, and they would purr loudly. Clear Sky wonders where Milkweed's kits are, and remembers how they had seemed so frail when they had arrived that he had given them Birch and Alder's nest, and how the young cats had happily made new nests in a gap in the brambles. When Thistle asks to go hunting with Clear Sky's patrol, the leader tells him that he can practice some moves in camp, and he sees that Birch and Alder are clearly bored, since Acorn Fur is now sleeping. He asks the young cats to teach Thistle and Clover some battle moves, and Alder agrees to do so.
Birch is later seen training Thistle and Clover with Alder. They circle the clearing, their paws pattering softly over the muddy earth, and Thistle and Clover crouch in the center. Birch tells Clover to tuck her hind paws tighter underneath her. When Clover protests that it makes in harder to jump, Birch reassures her that it will feel that way in the beginning, but after adjusting, she will be able to jump further. He adds that the farther she jumps, the less she will need to stalk. Clover bunches her hind quarters and asks if it is better and Birch says it is, telling her to now jump. Thistle tries the same, and when he lands neatly, a muzzle-length away form Birch, he asks the ginger tom how it was, and Birch tells him that he will be a great hunter. When Owl Eyes and Alder argue over what to be teaching the kits, Birch joins his sister and agrees with her, saying that Owl Eyes is in a bad mood because Clear Sky chose Sparrow Fur for the second hunting patrol. When Clover and Thistle begin bickering over who can jump farther, Birch steps between the two and suggests practicing stalking. Thunder asks Birch where Clear Sky is, and Birch glaces at the branch where Clear Sky likes to sit then shrugs, suggesting that he might have gone to make dirt. After Thunder finds his father, Clear Sky tells him to look after the kits, but Thunder argues that Birch, Alder, and Owl Eyes are all looking after them.
Birch and Alder are later seen asking Lightning Tail and Acorn Fur about life on the moor. When the former-moor cats discuss their opinions on the moor tunnels, Birch asks how they could see what they were doing, and Acorn Fur tells him that they obviously used their whiskers, ears, and noses.
As several cats argue about the fewer hunting patrols, Leaf says that there should be more since they are feeding cats who can't hunt for themselves, and he gazes at Birch and Alder as he says so. Birch puffs out his chest indignantly and exclaims that they would hunt if they got the chance.
Later, when Thunder watches Pink Eyes after they come to the ravine, he notes that the old tom is clearly at ease in his new home, and it is hard to believe that he is the same cat who had snapped at Birch and Alder for playing with his tail.
When Thunder comes to Clear Sky's camp to bring him a message about Quiet Rain, Alder and Birch hop from their nest beneath the bramble. Birch eyes Thunder suspiciously, and asks what he wants.
As Clear Sky returns to his camp after Quiet Rain's death, he recalls how Alder and Birch had brought him two voles that they had caught near the snake rocks. When Clear Sky had given one to Star Flower, Birch had narrowed his eyes, and said that they caught it for him.
When Clear Sky rushes into camp after Star Flower has been kidnapped, Blossom hangs behind Acorn Fur and Birch. His cats look at him hostilely, and Clear Sky argues with Quick Water for lying, claiming that she was kidnapped, but Birch tips his head to one side, his gaze thoughtful. Clear Sky and Quick Water quarrel more, with Clear Sky claiming that she was taken against her will, and he couldn’t have stopped them. Birch blinks at him, asking why they took her, and Clear Sky steadies his breath, responding that Slash wants to speak with the leaders of all the groups, and will keep Star Flower hostage until he persuades the other leaders to meet him. After Clear Sky also explains that Slash wants a share of prey, Birch demands where he thinks they will hunt, but Blossom mutters that it will be on their land. After Quick Water reminds Clear Sky of how Star Flower had once betrayed them, Birch sniffs, asking if he would be so forgiving if she wasn't his mate.
Clear Sky says that he would fight just as hard for any of them, and Acorn Fur decides that she will come with Clear Sky, but Birch argues that Clear Sky might be right, and Star Flower went with the rogues freely. Acorn Fur tells him that even if she did, she is carrying Clear Sky’s kits, and since her kits are a part of their group, they must get them back. Alder glances at her brother and blinks at him, asking if he doesn’t remember how the group protected them after their mother died. Clear Sky feels guilty for killing their mother when she had fought to protect her nest, and he recalls how Petal had brought the kits into the group and raised them as her own. Birch nods, his gaze softening, and he reflects that they have always had a safe nest to sleep in and prey to eat. His gaze flickers around the gathered cats and points out that Star Flower's kits deserve the same, as they haven't done anything wrong.
When Clear Sky goes to the Four Trees hollow to meet with Slash and the other leaders, he thinks of how he left his campmates prepared, and that Birch and Alder were assigned to stalk through the woods for signs of intruders.
When Thunder goes to Clear Sky's camp to visit the leader’s kits, as he approaches his father’s territory he notes that Nettle and Birch had recently passed that way. As he nears the camp, Thunder recognizes fresh scents, and he thinks that Blossom and Birch must be nearby. As the ginger tom enters he calls a greeting, and Birch hops from the steep bank that edges the track. The ginger tom asks if anything is wrong, and worry darkens his eyes, but Thunder replies that there isn't. Blossom mentions that Clear Sky send out patrols day and night and Thunder asks if he is worried that Slash will retaliate, Birch scans the forest quickly. He points out that he took Star Flower once, and asks why he wouldn’t do it again. Blossom growls they are ready this time, and Birch thrusts his muzzle toward Thunder, demanding if he has seen any of his rogues. Thunder answers that he isn’t, and when he explains that he came to visit the kits, Blossom exchanges a look with Birch before warning Thunder that no one is allowed near them yet, but that Clear Sky would be glad to see his son.
Birch nods toward the entrance and tells Thunder that Clear Sky is in his den. He adds that he hardly comes out now, and suggests going and finding him, and Thunder thanks them. As he heads toward Clear Sky's den, he encounters Quick Water, and as he notices that her fur clings to his frame, he suddenly realizes that Birch and Blossom had also looked leaner than usual. Thunder wonders if he had seemed skinny to them. After Thunder talks with Clear Sky and heads along the trail toward the rise, he sees Birch and Blossom sniff through a patch of frost-scorched nettles. Thunder tells them that he will see them soon and Birch looks up, clearly distracted, and mumbles agreement. As Thunder heads for the ravine, he ponders how although Clear Sky might have been sure about guarding his camp, Blossom and Birch had seemed edgy, and wonders if the are right to be wary, as Slash doesn’t seem to be the cat who would easily give up.
After Clear Sky and a patrol have their prey stolen by Slash and a few of his rogues, he recalls how he had sent out a big patrol of Blossom, Birch, Nettle, Quick Water, and Thorn. After he talks with Star Flower, he hears the bramble entrance rattle and paw steps thrum into the camp. Clear Sky says that the patrol is back, and when Blossom stands in the middle of the clearing with two mice, Clear Sky looks past hopefully at Birch, Nettle, Quick Water, and Thorn, wondering if they are carrying any prey. Clear Sky brings Star Flower a rabbit, and she says that their kits should have it, although she adds that he should make sure that Birch and Alder get a bit, as she knows that rabbit is their favorite. The gray tom drops the rabbit by the prey pile and heads back to his den, and Birch questions if he isn't eating anything. Clear Sky responds that he will eat tomorrow.
When there is a meeting called about the rogue cats now living in the groups, Clear Sky says that he has taken in rogues, and that Thorn, Nettle, Birch, and Alder are as loyal as any camp-born cat. However, when the other cats tell Clear Sky that Red was one of Slash’s rogues, he thinks back to the dark ginger tom at camp and feels anxious, before reminding himself of his own words or Thorn, Nettle, Birch and Alder's loyalty.
After the gathering, Clear Sky watches his cats in camp, and sees Quick Water with a hunk of ice in her teeth as she pads past Birch and Alder. The siblings are sharing tongues at the bottom of the short slope that leads to Clear Sky's den. Birch shudders as water drips from the ice onto his tail, and asks if she is taking a drink to Star Flower, to which the gray-and-white she-cat nods her head.
Later, Slash interrupts the meeting where the rogues are made early settlers and threatens that they have paid the price for something. Clear Sky is afraid that it is Star Flower and he races for the slope, with Acorn Fur, Nettle, and Birch tearing after him, pelts bristling.
Later, when Moth Flight and Spotted Fur go to SkyClan to get bark for Slate, who is sick, Nettle asks where they are going, and Alder and Birch flank him, their eyes narrowed aggressively. Moth Flight explains that they need the bark for a sick Clanamte, and says that they should all help each other, and Birch tips his head, eyes curious, and asks if she doesn't agree with Wind Runner. Spotted Fur reasons that it will make no difference if they take the bark or not, but Birch narrows his eyes, and growls that he is sick of WindClan telling them what to do. The two WindClan cats are forced to go the the SkyClan camp, and, because Moth Flight is hurrying, as the cats spot the bramble barrier on the slope ahead, Birch has to run to duck through the gap before her.
During the battle against WindClan, Birch is seen being attacked by Fern Leaf with a flurry of blows. While Birch pins her to the ground, Thorn gazes at Fern Leaf too. Fern Leaf's hind legs churn desperately as she fights to loosen Birch's grip, and Thorn drops into a hunting crouch. Thorn attacks Fern Leaf while Birch aims vicious blows at her muzzle. However, Dust Muzzle comes and attacks Thorn, leaving Fern Leaf to rear and slash Birch's nose, causing blood to spray the ground.
Later in the battle, Birch is seen backed against the ferns, flailing at Dust Muzzle as he swipes at him with vicious blows. After Moth Flight pads Fern Leaf's wounds, she joins Dust Muzzle and the two send well-aimed blows to Birch's nose until the ginger tom backs deep into the ferns.
Birch is one of the cats that Shadowstar thinks could have been responsible for Sun Shadow's death, and the cat who had just looked on as she lost a life.
After Shadowstar attempts to attack Quick Water, she is caught off balance by an attack from Thunderstar. Steadying herself, she finds herself face to face with Birch, raking her claws across Birch's chest, leaving a bloody scratch. Birch stumbles backwards for a brief moment before launching himself at Shadowstar in retaliation. Their scuffle does not last long, before Shadowstar glances over Birch's shoulder and sees her deputy, Raven Pelt, in battle with Quick Water. Shadowstar stops fighting with Birch, and runs past the SkyClan cat in an attempt to save Raven Pelt from the same untimely fate that Sun Shadow faced.
He has been mistakenly called brown-and-white.
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Alternate Kit Version
Early Settler Version
"I thought you were going to teach us fighting skills."
—Birch when Clear Sky informs him that they would be doing hide-and-seek The First Battle, page 70